London Calling: Part Three

The weather in London is thought to be pretty standard: cloudy, grey, rainy, cold. My parents, sister, and I all made sure to pack raincoats and sweaters.

Granted, the day we arrived in London fulfilled that description. But, amazingly, the rest of the week showed all the promises of spring. The trees were budding, the sun was radiant, and the skies were blue! It was glorious, and we were happy to be out and about in it.

The weather played a key role in our third day of exploration, specifically toward the end of it.

First stop: Rough Trade. This place is dedicated to everything music-related. We visited their location on Brick Lane, but there are others in West London, Nottingham, and most recently in New York City. Our main reason for going was to buy Polaroid film for Kathryn (she bought a Polaroid camera at the Brick Lane market I mentioned in part one), but oh man, I could spend hours in there.

From there, we walked through Old Spitalfields Market to do some shopping and eat lunch before we hopped on a bus over to the Tate Modern. It was a bit of an adventure trying to actually find the museum. Let’s just say I added quite a few more steps to my iPhone’s pedometer, but we finally managed to find the Millennium Bridge that would take us across the Thames to our destination. (Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, anyone?? If you don’t remember, skip to 1:08 in this video.)

dumasIf you’ve ever been to any of the London museums, you know each one can be a whole day’s worth of exploration. With that in mind, we chose to go through only one exhibit – the Marlene Dumas exhibit, entitled “The Image as Burden.”

Overall, the exhibit was pretty dark, and it evoked deep, and sometimes uncomfortable, emotions about discrimination, women’s issues, violence, tenderness and suffering. I think Peter Schjeldahl from The New Yorker described it best: “There is a heaviness to the paintings of the South African-born, Dutch-based artist Marlene Dumas, as if they might fall off the wall and break the floor.”

Next, we made a pitstop at a Twinings store for a spontaneous tea tasting.

We proceeded to Trafalgar Square as the sun was setting, thus beginning the most memorable stroll of the whole trip. The light was shining on the buildings with such a brilliant glow, and kept shining as we walked through St. James’s Park all the way to the gates of Buckingham Palace.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, although they can barely do it justice!

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Buckingham Palace is definitely one of my favorite things I’ve seen in London. Maybe it’s the whole kings and queens, princes and princesses thing, but it fascinates me. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to spend a day as a royal? Speaking of – welcome to the world, little Charlotte Elizabeth Diana!

So day three was a success, and we still had two whole days left to explore (which I plan to combine into one post next time).

Stay tuned for the conclusion of our trip to London…


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